Aside from the diplomacy, hoopla and backslapping there was an important political message from Ursula von der Leyen's address in Leinster House.

That was that the talks on revisiting the Northern Ireland Protocol to make them palatable to the UK are heading in the right direction.

The President of the European Commission didn't give much away about the nuts and bolts of the discussions, but her description of negotiations with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as being "encouraging" will be carefully noted by the Government here.

"I am glad that today our talks with London are marked by a new, more pragmatic spirit," she said.

Last month Taoiseach Micheál Martin met the prime minister in Blackpool on the fringes of the British-Irish Council summit, and there were positive noises about the future of the discussions.

Senior Government figures believe the new realism of Rishi Sunak may mean there is sufficient pragmatism to get a deal on the Northern Ireland Protocol

Ms von der Leyen's speech was another indication of improvement in the direction of travel.

"By applying common sense and focusing on the issues that really matter in Northern Ireland, I believe we can make progress in resolving the practical matters surrounding the protocol," she said.

The remarks were in stark contrast to the EU's view of Boris Johnson's administration, which it believed was dishonest and duplicitous.

But Ursula von der Leyen's comments also laid down some markers.

She said any solutions must ensure the Single Market continues to function in Ireland and elsewhere in the EU.

That is another way of saying that any goods flowing across the border from the North into the Republic need to meet the standards of the Single Market.

Ursula von der Leyen said talks with London are now 'marked by a new, more pragmatic spirit'

At present there are some checks on goods coming into the North from the UK - something that is abhorred by the Unionist community as placing a border on the Irish Sea.

While Ms von der Leyen talked-up the positive side of EU-UK negotiations, at the same time Brussels has prepared retaliatory trade measures in the event that Britain uses legislation to override the Northern Ireland Protocol and welch on its side of the deal.

It is no surprise that the European Commission has put in place steps to impose trade sanctions.

But the Government in Dublin is hopeful it never comes to that.

Ursula von der Leyen's statement that there must be no hard border on the island of Ireland and her commitment to the Good Friday Agreement was music to the ears of politicians in the Dáil chamber.

Looking on was Michelle O'Neill, the First Minister-elect of the Stormont Assembly, who was in the gallery.

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl said that he wished to see the suspended Stormont executive in the North back in action.

The key to that aim will be an agreement on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

TDs applaud Ursula von der Leyen in the Dáil this afternoon

While senior Government figures believe the new realism of Rishi Sunak may mean there is sufficient pragmatism to get a deal, securing backing from the DUP to any agreement will be more challenging.

Without that party's backing, the administration in the North remains on ice.

Sinn Féin has argued that DUP leader Jeffery Donaldson would find it difficult to become Deputy First Minister in an executive led by Michelle O'Neill.

In Government circles the thinking is that if a deal is done, backed by Rishi Sunak and the EU, it could still be initially rejected by the DUP.

But the hope is that the party could be persuaded to come on board by virtue of the weight of the pressure from all the other backers.

Something similar happened in the past with the New Decade New Approach agreement, which gave commitments on the Irish language in Northern Ireland.

While Ursula von der Leyen said that "Brexit will not become an obstacle on the path of reconciliation in Ireland" making that a reality will be easier said than done.